Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, commented on the government announcement of funding for nurse apprenticeships
‘Action to recruit more nurses is necessary and welcome, and apprenticeships are a good model for attracting more people to the profession. Yet, despite this announcement being a positive step, it alone will not solve chronic staff shortages in health and care services.
‘Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the health and care workforce was in a state of crisis, with high levels of work-related stress, reports of overworked staff looking to leave their jobs, and a shortage of around 40,000 nurses. It’s been 18 months since an NHS workforce strategy was promised, but so far we have only seen piecemeal announcements that do not add up to a comprehensive plan. Delays to government spending decisions have left the health service without the long-term investment and concrete commitments needed to recruit the doctors, nurses and other staff needed to address workforce shortages.
‘This announcement also leaves some unanswered questions for social care, a sector that went into the Covid-19 pandemic grappling with more than 120,000 vacancies. Health and social care services work closely together and in the absence of comparable action to recruit and retain more social care staff, there is a risk that the NHS recruitment drive will inadvertently exacerbate workforce shortages in social care.’